Tuesday, August 14, 2007

coca cola he say

Watching all the prominently displayed Coke ads in Rang De Basanti, especially in the dhaba scenes, I had a few moments' hallucination. It had been a long day and five minutes of the film had been enough to make the three of us watching it groan and vow to endure.

So it was that for a while I watched the film imagining that Sue McKinley's real reason for coming to India was to search for her ancestor, long lost but rumoured to have died in India. She meets Sonia, and thereafter DJ and gang, and goes to his dhaba. There, looking at the compelling juxtaposition of red and white and beige and the smell of earth at godhuli, something inside her awakes. But the penny really drops only when she sees DJ come towards her with the love light in his eyes and a bottle of Coke. Sue's face lights up; she starts running towards him in slomo. DJ is ecstatic; no girl has fallen for him this quickly. She stops inches away from him, but something's wrong. She's not looking at him. Her eyes devour the bottle in his hands. As DJ watches, Sue's face twists with strong emotion and she grabs the bottle from his suddenly nerveless hands, crying out, "Grandpa!" Film ends five minutes later with all of them ritually consuming the remains of Sue's ancestor, thus proving to Horace that there are many way in which one can non omnes moriar.

After that cinema nation thingy I was moderating the other evening, at dinner, I asked Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra how he came upon the name McKinley. "Did you think of it or was the choice of name imposed on you," I asked. It was a fair question, I thought, considering.
All I got in reply, though, was a long story about how during research, his team came upon a man named McKinley who was known as The Wall.
(There's another film there somewhere, should Dravid ever want to make the transition from cricket into acting.)
Hmm. All nonsense.


km said...

Well, one and one and one is three.

That is a godawful film.

Space Bar said...

km: :D it truly is. i had no idea how bad until i was forced to watch it.

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

I really think Coca Cola will not spend millions to insert the name of their brand of bottled water into the name of a fleeting character of the film.

I am a pretty avid watcher of films and I do not even remember hearing the name of the jailor even once! If that is so, I can bet 99% of the audience won't even catch it.

In-film product placement has to be in context or it simply fails. Painting dhaba walls makes sense because that's where a soft drink is expected to be found. Not in the name of an English jailer of the early 1900s!

Relax - The Capitalist Conspiracy is not that widespread yet.

Space Bar said...

dipta: surely you didn't think i was suggesting coke payed only for the name? of course they payed for the visible stuff, the plastered bits of their name and stuff they drink throughout.

but there is something called subliminal advertising, as i'm sure you know. and if anything works subliminally, it is having a lead character and her grandfather called mckinley when, as it happens, a major product prominently placed through the film is coke.